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National Museum of Australia

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1913 Delaunay-Belleville Tourer

1986.0042.0001

1913 Delaunay-Belleville Tourer

Object information

Description

This car was originally owned by JBN Osborne of Bowylie Station in the Gundaroo area. It is believed that it was present at the opening of the Provisional Parliament House in Canberra in 1927. The vehicle passed hands into the Sibley family. In 1955 Mr Bob Beer who had first seen and admired the car as a youngster bought it from the Sibleys for 35 pounds. At that time the car was lying in a creek bed at Gundaroo, complete but in a derelict state. Beer then sold it to Murdoch McDonald in 1956 for 45 pounds. Following this, the Delaunay later passed hands to George Green from Sydney who restored it in the early1970s, replacing the original body with a replica.

Following its restoration, the car was driven extensively . It has travelled from Sydney to Melbourne and Katoomba on several occasions. The George Green Motor Museum used the car to sell short rides to the general public for several years. In 1988 it was driven in the Bicentennial Rally travelling from Sydney through the Blue Mountains and the central west then back through Wagga to Canberra, a journey taking ten days to complete.

Physical description

A 1913 Delaunay-Belleville Tourer. The yellow body is a replica, which was fitted in the 1960s, and it has black mudguards and running boards. The interior has been refurbished and it is upholstered in brown leather. The car has a 3.75 litre four-cylinder engine and a four speed gearbox. Engine number 5243V. Chassis number IA4. It is thought the original colour was most likely buff.

Statement of significance

The 'Green's Motorcade Museum collection' consists of a restored yellow Delaunay-Belleville 3.75 litre tourer manufactured in Paris, France in 1913 and an associated dating certificate issued by the Veteran Car Club of Australia. This prestigious car is thought to have been purchased by the prominent Osborne family of Gundaroo, NSW. It was later owned by the Sibley family, also of Gundaroo, and several private collectors before being acquired for the National Historical Collection in 1982.

It is one of only two mobile Delaunays in Australia and a handful of other restored veteran Delaunay-Bellevilles known to exist around the world. It is representative of a coachbuilt marque favoured by royalty, this Delaunay-Belleville reflects the rise of the automobile industry in the early twentieth-century and the import of increasingly sophisticated European and American vehicles to Australia. This car also offers insights into the domestic life of two prominent families in the NSW Southern Tablelands during the early twentieth century and the collection of car culture in the private sphere.

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